Artist/producer Pharrell Williams is having the best time of his life right now. He won a truckload of awards this past awards season, got married, and was nominated for an Oscar. However, one blemish on an otherwise stellar year is the legal battle over the hit Robin Thicke song “Blurred Lines,” which he produced, with Marvin Gaye‘s Estate.
In an interview with XXL Magazine, Pharrell finally went into detail about the lawsuit and how “Blurred Lines” is not a straight rip-of of Marvin Gaye’s hit song “Got To Give It Up.” During the candid conversation Pharrell stated, “I have the utmost respect, the most, utmost respect for Marvin Gaye and his music and he is one of the patriarchs. He is one of the best. But here’s the thing—you can’t trademark a groove.”
“If I play a song—which a lot of my new hip-hop, rap records are—that’s done in 6/8 time signature, Charlie Parker’s family is not going to sue me for that. Do you understand what I’m saying? If I do a salsa beat right now, I know that Ricky Martin’s family is not going to come looking for me,” the Grammy Award winner went on to say.
Pharrell offers further proof that his production on “Blurred Lines” doesn’t sample Gaye’s hit by telling music fans to go read the sheet music.
“We’re dealing with the idea that someone feels like a groove is proprietary, and it’s not. Music is, and the notes are, and when you look at the sheet music, then you’d know. And just for a bit of humor, the percussion that I use on ‘Blurred Lines,’ aside from the music notation being completely different, completely different—the sheet music is available online, by the way—but the percussion, I was trying to pretend that I was Marvin Gaye, and what he would do had he went down to Nashville and did a record with pentatonic harmonies, and more of a bluegrass chord structure. So unfortunately there’s no comparison between the minor, bluesy chords he was playing and my major, bluegrass-y chords, and that’s very plain to see for anyone who can read music.”
Does Pharrell’s reasoning as to why his song sounds different form “Got To Give It Up” make sense to you.